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26 June, 2013
"Lord Chancellor, did I deliver the speech well? I am glad of that, for there was nothing in it. "
|A Royal Affair: George III and His Scandalous Siblings|
The British monarch who viewed America's Revolutionary War as a rebellion of ungrateful children against their father had a fatherly relation to his five younger siblings who brought him abundant heartache, as Tillyard relates in a gifted, prodigiously researched history. Headstrong Princess Augusta made no secret of her misery with Karl, duke of Brunswick, who spurned her for other women, his illegitimate children, regional politics and warfare. With no public role allotted to Edward, duke of York, the charming rake and gambler roamed the world seeking amusement and novelty with a coterie of restless aristocrats until he died, at 28, of malaria in Monaco. And when George's favorite brother, William, duke of Gloucester, flouted George's authority with a secret marriage, the wounded king refused to acknowledge his ambitious sister-in-law. The worst offenders were Prince Henry, duke of Cumberland, who was a third party in a sensational divorce trial, and Caroline Mathilde, who cheated on her husband, the mad Danish King Christian, with his German physician and ruled Denmark with her lover until she was exiled and her lover executed in a coup that almost provoked war with Britain. As Tillyard (Aristocrats) spotlights lesser-known royals, she keenly demonstrates how the private and public lives of monarchs are often intertwined.
|Annals of the Reign of George III|
George III was born in 1738, and came to the throne in 1760, marrying his wife Charlotte in 1761 and producing with her no fewer than fifteen children. George was afflicted with porphyria, a painful disease which disrupted his reign as early as 1765 and, following further attacks of "madness," went on to debilitate him in the last years of his reign. Personal rule was given to his son George, the Prince Regent, in 1811. George III died blind, deaf and mad at Windsor Castle on January 29, 1820. One of the longest reigns in British history, George’s rule coincided with some of the most important events in world history, namely the American and French Revolutions and the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. This magisterial work by Aiken, a contemporary biographer of the highest caliber, catalogues in fascinating detail the major events of this most remarkable reign.
|First Four Georges|
(J H Plumb)
Fluent, lucid and written with Plumb's characteristic brevity, this is among the best introductions you will find to the high politics of the Hanoverian period. Sir John Plumb (d.2001) was one of the finest historical writers ever published in English. He is in the tradition of Macaulay and Trevelyan. His prose is polished and perfectly cadenced, and his light style masks a profound analytical grasp of the political forces that shaped this century of Whig ascendancy. Some may accuse him of adhering to the 'Great Men' school of history. If so, he highlights all their vices as well as their virtues.
Plumb was criticised for more often making the grand sweep of historical analysis as opposed to dredging through the minutiae of historical documentation. This analysis, I believe, is flawed and inimical to the notion that for history to be worthy of the name it should be readable for a wider audience, not solely confined to the institutions where it is nurtured.
Plumb's scholarship has inspired generations of laymen; his intellectual generosity and didactic rigour has also reaped its rewards within historical departments on both sides of the Atlantic. Those inspired by the Plumb school of history, who mastered their craft under his watchful eye at Christ's College, Cambridge, include such well known names as Simon Schama, David Cannadine, Niall Ferguson and Neil Mc Kendrick.
|George III: A Personal History|
A radical reassessment of King George III from the lively and prolific pen of a master
Rather than reaffirming King George III's reputation as, alternately, a tyrant, a country bumpkin, and a lunatic, Christopher Hibbert portrays him not only as a competent ruler during most of his reign but also as a patron of the arts and sciences, a man of wit and intelligence who greatly enhanced the reputation of the British monarchy until he was stricken with a rare hereditary disease.
Teeming with court machinations, sexual intrigues, and familial conflicts, George III opens a window on the tumultuous, rambunctious, revolutionary eighteenth century. It is sure to alter our understanding of this fascinating, complex, and very human king who so strongly shaped England's -and America's-destiny.
|George III: King and Politicians 1760-1770|
(Peter G. D. Thomas)
As a clear, well-written narrative of the high politics of the first decade of George III's reign this book will make a useful contribution to the understanding of the period.
|The Hanoverians: The History of a Dynasty|
In The Hanoverians, one of Britain's most widely read historians, Jeremy Black, presents a detailed look at the long reign of this family's scandal-plagued reigning dynasty from the eighteenth to the early nineteenth century, including four King Georges and William IV. From the controversial King George I, who spoke only French and German, to George III's humiliating loss of the American colonies and bouts of insanity, to the disliked George IV's scandalous marriage and attempted divorce, the reign of the Hanoverians was filled with interesting stories and extraordinary characters.
|The Madness of George III|